Develop a curriculum of viticulture training materials that focus on cold hardy grape production:
- Introductory content for seasonal workers and novice viticulturists
- Continuing education for advanced viticulturists
- Uses “Growing Grapes in Minnesota” as a guide
- Use outreach workshops to identify knowledge gaps and
- Beta-test curriculum with attendees
- Make curriculum available to a regional audience
Improve sustainability of grape production by:
- Changing behaviors related to canopy management
- Improving pest management skills
- Increasing understanding of the short and long-term consequences of vineyard decision making
Educational & Outreach Activities
This project has focused on using field days and workshops to teach grape growers on best management practices and to use those workshops for the purpose of developing content for an online curriculum. Because the workshops were successful with each partner, we were asked to expand some offerings to other industry stakeholder field sites including an 2 additional field days outlined below. Furthermore, we offered webinars to reach audiences across the region on timely topics that could be integrated into the online curriculum. We covered many of the topics outlined in our proposed plan of work.
Field Days and Workshops
Grape Pruning workshop (3/23/19) Pruning techniques and Integrated Pest management. Hosted by partner L. Smiley at Chankaska Creek Ranch Winery, Kasota, MN. 63 participants
Managing Young Vines field day (5/30/19). Hosted by partner T. Savavryn at the Winery at Sovereign Estates, Waconia, MN. 17 participants
Vine canopy management (6/8/19). Hosted by partner L. Smiley at Cannon Valley Vineyard, Cannon Falls, MN. 31 participants.
Pre-Harvest workshop (8/3/19) at Flower Valley Vineyard, Red Wing, MN with support from Minnesota Grape Growers association and repeated 8/19/2019 with partner T. Bredeson, Carlos Creek Winery, Alexandria, MN. 38 participants.
Summer picnic field day (8/18/19) at Northern Hollow Vineyard, Grasston, MN. 16 Participants
Crop insurance in grapes webinar (10/23/19)
Developing a vineyard spray program webinar (12/10/19) 48 participants
Development a vineyard weed management plan (12/17/19) 62 participants
Development of Online Curriculum
The main thrust of this program has been to partner with farmers in determining which topics are important for grape growers of all skill levels, specifically novice/beginning farmers. We have identified 12 key topic areas and have developed educational content: learning objectives, lectures, instructional videos to have a dynamic content that targets different learning styles. We will continue to develop this material and use it throughout 2020 to identify knowledge gaps and to improve the content before making it broadly available to regional grape farmers. Video capture and editing will continue in 2020
Lectures Modules in Development in 2019
Starting a New Vineyard
Managing Young Vines
Disease ID and Management
Insect Pests of Grapes
In-Season Canopy Management
Vine Nutrition, Nutrient Testing
This project has held several field days, workshops, and webinars to teach farmers (grape growers) about different practices to improve sustainability in their operations. We identified several potential outcomes in our proposal which are briefly described below. In general, we have focused on management practices to improve overall vine health, use integrated pest management approaches, determine proper harvest timing to increase profits, and methods to improve young plant success. In addition to the live educational events, we have been developing an online curriculum for farmers. Sustainability plays a central theme throughout. We are using a learning objectives model to frame each of the modules. For example “students will be able to _______” (use proper cultural practices to prevent vineyard diseases; correctly identify insect pests; access resources such as the Midwest Fruit Pest Management Guide. We have been able to utilize and access additional expertise within the University (Dept. of Entolomology; Soil Science) and from the USDA to improve the quality of deliverables.
So far, we have reached over 75 farmers and/or winery operators (241 contact points) from across the state. We have focused on three key regions (Cannon Falls in the southeast, Waconia in central, and Alexandria in the northwest) where operations are based. The goal was to reduce workshop participant burden of traveling 3+ hours to attend an event. We had intend to offer additional workshops, but participants have indicated fatigue/burn-out with too many events, especially during the growing season.
The key outcome to focus on during this report is that “farmers will be educated on best practices in grapevine management”. We provided timely workshops that had appropriate in-season activities to focus on specific practices. We used the in-person workshops to capture photos and video content for use in the online curriculum. One key aspect to improve economic sustainability for grape growers is at planting and the management of young vines. This includes proper irrigation, pest management and care across the season. With our partner, we offered a workshop and visited a two different planting sites: one new planting established on a hill and the second on a bluff. One specific topic at this site that was covered a discussion on the different practices to reduce soil erosion in these two systems. This is in a peri-urban setting with continued urban sprawl, so social, economic, and environmental benefits were also covered due to the proximity to residential homes and a large lake. A second example was a canopy management workshop held in early summer to demonstrate techniques such as leaf pulling. Proper leaf pulling can improve yields, reduce leaf/cluster wetness which lessens disease, and also is a touch-point for growers to be scouting for pests and disease during the critical time. Many of the suggested fungicides are applied in early spring, and canopy management to remove infected canes and fruit that were missed during pruning can managed during leaf pulling. We also discussed shoot positioning (including new methods being tested at Penn State) that are meant to reduce the time in the vineyard while increase profitability. The site for this workshop has move to reduced chemical herbicides, and we were able to demonstrate management practices to reduce weed pressure in an established vineyard.
The main outcome for this project is the development of training curriculum that teaches new skills about sustainable practices. This includes the transfer of research-based best practices that are used by the farmer-partners in this project. We have outlined a 12 module online curriculum and have so far produced 7 modules with lectures that will be made available to our partners for testing this spring (2020). We have also captured photos and video that are being curated and developed into instructional content. The 12 modules include basic plant biology (Life of the Grapevine); Starting a Vineyard; In Season Canopy Managemetn; pest management (Weed Management; Designing a Pest Management Plan; Disease ID and Management); Vine Nutrition: nutrient testing and fertilizer) and several others.
will include in final report; currently we do not have access to our assessment documents due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic we are unable to have future in person workshops for the the spring/summer of 2020. We are hopeful that we will soon have new guidance from UMN and UMN Extension about a path forward.